What Are the Major Causes of a Pressure Sensation Behind the Eyes?
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Why Do I Feel Pressure Behind My Eye?

Published on Jul 29, 2022 and last reviewed on Mar 15, 2023   -  5 min read


Feeling pressure behind the eyes is caused by an issue with the surrounding structures. This article will discuss the conditions causing it in detail.

Why Do I Feel Pressure Behind My Eye?


Any infection or injury to the eyes will show signs and symptoms evidently. An infection shows signs of swelling and redness commonly. But in many cases, a person will feel pressure behind the eye. This pressure can be an issue with the eye. The most common eye condition causing pressure behind the eyes is glaucoma. But it will stem from problems with the adjacent structures. Pain and pressure are different. Pain will feel like a burning sensation, but the pressure will feel like fullness. This article will discuss the various eye conditions and non-eye conditions causing pressure behind the eyes.

What Are the Conditions Causing Pressure Behind the Eyes?

Conditions causing pressure behind the eyes are as follows:

What Is Dry Eyes?

A dry eye is a condition caused due to inadequate production of tears to lubricate the eyes. For example, a few might experience dry eyes after working on a computer for a long time, in an airplane, or in an air-conditioned room for a long time.


  • A feeling of something present behind the eyes.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Redness and sensitivity to light.

  • Tearing eyes.

  • Wearing contact lenses becomes difficult.

  • Burning or scratchy sensation.


What Is Scleritis?

The white of the eye is the sclera, and it serves as a protective covering. It occupies more than 80 % of the total structure of the eye. Scleritis is an inflammatory condition caused by an exaggerated immune response.


  • Decreased or blurred vision.

  • Excessive tearing.

  • Redness due to inflammation.

  • Sensitive to light.


  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and oral glucocorticoids are prescribed to reduce inflammation.

What Is Optic Neuritis?

The optic nerve is responsible for carrying the visual messages from the eye to the brain. Any swelling of the eye might impinge on the optic nerve and cause optic neuritis (an inflammatory condition). Few diseases like multiple sclerosis (the coverings of the nerves will be damaged) and neuromyelitis optica (the spinal cord and the nerves of the eyes will be damaged). Women are most commonly affected by optic neuritis.


  • Pain in the eyes.

  • Loss of vision.


  • Steroids will be administered intravenously to fasten the vision recovery.

  • If steroid administration does not work, then plasma exchange therapy is attempted.

Other conditions

What Are the Other Conditions Causing Pressure Behind the Eyes?

Sinus Infection

Sinuses are hollow structures present within the bone seen in the area of the forehead, eyes, and cheekbones. These sinus structures will produce mucus that lubricates the nose's inner layers and protects it from dirt, dust, and microorganisms. The sinus linings will get inflamed or swollen, and this condition is called sinusitis.

Sinusitis condition will cause pressure behind the eyes and is also accompanied by a few other symptoms like,

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • Severe headaches.

  • Weakness.

  • Sinus drainage.

  • Loss of smell.

  • Bad breath.

  • Tooth pain.

  • Nasal congestion.


Several treatment modalities are suggested.

  • Steaming.

  • Decongestants (but should not be used beyond what is recommended since it causes severe congestion).

  • The use of vaporizers gives good relief.

  • Antibiotics.


Pressure behind the eyes is present almost all the time, along with headaches. Headache is a common pain form.

Headaches are classified into two categories. They are,

  • Tension headaches.

  • Migraine-type headaches.

  • Cluster headaches.

Tension headaches are caused due to stress and anxiety. The muscles of the shoulder, neck and scalp are stiff during this type of headache.

Cluster headaches are the most excruciating headaches caused due to abnormalities in the biological clock of the body. These headaches may last from 15 minutes to three hours and usually at night and around the same time. Alcohol and Nitroglycerin drugs tend to trigger cluster headaches.

Migraine is often characterized by pain behind the eyes. Hormones, stress, and flashing lights are the common causes of migraines. Migraines can be treated with steroids, opioids, and triptans.

Graves' Disease

The immune system will identify the thyroid gland as a foreign body and attack it. Thus the gland produces large amounts of its hormones, causing hyperthyroidism. This condition is called Graves' disease. Robert Grave first described this condition and, therefore, is named after him. These overactive thyroid glands affect the heart, bone, and muscles.

Graves' disease affects the eye's muscles, causing the eyes to swell up. Because of the swelling, when the patients try to move their eyes, pressure is felt behind the eyes. Also, blurred vision, double vision, sensitivity to light, and optic nerve damage leading to vision loss are seen.


  • Beta-blockers like Propranolol and Metoprolol are the suggested fine line of treatment for Graves' disease. These medications are prescribed to keep the status of the heart under control until hyperthyroidism is cured.

  • Methimazole and Propylthiouracil are antithyroid drugs and will be prescribed to lower the levels of thyroid hormones and control hyperthyroidism. These medications in a few people can rarely cause skin rashes and rarely affect the liver.

  • Radiation therapy is also recommended for two to three months to shrink the thyroid gland and eventually reduce the production of hormones. The treatment includes the patient taking an Iodine pill.

  • In severe cases, surgical removal of the thyroid gland partially or wholly is also suggested.

Face Injury

Injuries to the face that include the eye structure also, from accidents or sports fields can cause pressure behind the eyes.

Eye socket fractures are common and show symptoms like,

  • Pressure behind the eyes.

  • Black eye.

  • Swollen eyes.

  • Double vision.


  • Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Acetaminophen are prescribed to treat the pressure behind the eyes.


The pressure or pain behind the eyes can be scary, but in the majority of cases, no severe illness will be associated with it. Consulting with an ophthalmologist at the earliest will give way for an early diagnosis and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Strain Behind the Eyes Serious?

Although eye strain has no significant long-term effects, it can be bothersome and unpleasant. It might tire people and make it harder to focus.


What Does It Mean if Someone Feels Tension in Their Eyes?

This could be an indication that something is wrong with the eyes. Many people are concerned that a feeling of pressure behind the eyes could indicate a serious eye condition. An eye doctor should be the first professional people see if they experience any sharp or dull pain or pressure in or near their eyes.


How Can Eye Pressure Be Reduced?

Eye pressure can be reduced by,
 - Resting the eyes in between the screen time.
 - Blinking exercises.
 - Adjusting the environment.
 - Eye massages.
 - Warm compresses.
 - Cold compresses.
 - Adjusting screen settings.
 - Artificial tears.


What Is the Quickest Method for Reducing Eye Pressure?

To lower eye pressure, the eye doctor may recommend specific drops. Good lifestyle choices can also help people manage high eye pressure and improve their overall eye health:
  - Eat healthy food.
  - Exercise every day.
  - Remain hydrated.
  - Limit caffeine utilization.


Is Eye Pressure a Side Effect of Stress?

When someone is stressed or anxious, briefly or regularly, their eyes change, increasing intraocular pressure (IOP).


Is It Possible To Lower Eye Pressure Naturally?

Physical activity might decrease eye pressure. An appropriate exercise regimen can be discussed with the healthcare provider. Caffeine consumption should be limited. Consuming beverages with a lot of caffeine could pressure the eyes more.


Will the Absence of Sleep Cause High Eye Pressure?

Eye pressure can rise as a result of not getting enough sleep. This is due to a lack of time for the eyes to rehydrate and recover. This can cause eye strain, which in turn can cause glaucoma.


What Are the Early Warning Signs of Glaucoma?

Following are the early symptoms of Acute angle-closure glaucoma
   - Headache.
   - Eye pain.
   - Nausea.
   - Vomiting.
   - Blurry vision.
   - Redness in the eye.


How Can I Check Eye Pressure at My Home?

When using applanation tonometry, it is clear that one cannot conduct an at-home eye pressure test. However, a few eye pressure machines, such as the Perkins tonometer, can be utilized for home eye pressure checks. Additionally, there are some out-of-date pressure monitors, such as the Shiotz tonometer.


What Is the Normal Eye Pressure?

Typical eye pressure is somewhere in the range of 10 mmHg and 20 mmHg.


How Pressure-Relieving Eye Drops Work?

Pressure relieving eye drops function by preventing optic nerve damage and lowering eye pressure. These eye drops won't fix glaucoma or reverse vision loss, yet they can keep it from deteriorating.


Eye Pressure Is Temporary or Not?

High eye pressure can also result from eye trauma, which can be short-term or long-term. To assist in monitoring eye health, be sure to inform the eye doctor of any such incident, past or present.


What Activities Raise the Pressure in the Eyes?

Intraocular pressure is increased by following activities
  - Muscle exertion.
  - Increased respiratory volumes.
  - Changes in body position.


How Should I Sleep to Prevent Pressure in My Eyes?

It is possible to lower nighttime eye pressure and lower the risk of developing glaucoma-related vision issues by elevating the head while sleeping.


When Is Eye Pressure Most Elevated?

Ocular pressure is highest in the morning and lowest in the afternoon.


Is Sitting Increase Eye Pressure?

The supine position without a pillow had the highest IOP, while the sitting position had the lowest.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
15 Mar 2023  -  5 min read




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